Election: PDP advises Buratai not to drag military into politics

Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official webpage of the Nigerian Army]
Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official webpage of the Nigerian Army]

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, not to drag the military into politics.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, gave the advice in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Mr Ologbondiyan, who is also the Director, Media and Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, urged Mr Buratai to refrain himself from acts or actions that would suggest in any way that the military had become an arm of a political party.

He said that Mr Buratai’s allusion to the PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as well as his threats to officers and ranks to participate in the electoral process was an aberration of the laws.

He said that Mr Abubakar spoke on the side of the law and to respect the wishes of Nigerians so could not be intimidated by anybody.

Mr Ologbondiyan said that the loyalty of the military was to the state and that the president did not have the power to deploy soldiers for the conduct of elections.

“Our party urges Gen. Buratai to concentrate on his very demanding assignment of protecting the territorial integrity of our nation and ending insurgency rather than dabbling into partisan politics at the risk of our national cohesion.”

He said that the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos on March 23, 2015, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba, had directly outlawed the deployment of troops in the conduct of elections in the country.

He also advised the president to note the subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal, which on February 15, held that the president had no powers to deploy soldiers in the conduct of elections.

Mr Ologbondiyan said that the courts had summarily dismissed the arguments that soldiers were needed to guarantee peaceful elections.

“It may interest the president to know that the judgment was sequel to a suit filed by the APC Leader in the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, seeking a declaration that deployment of soldiers during elections is illegal and unconstitutional.

“The court directly held that “the Armed Forces have no role in elections” and if soldiers must vote, they must do so in their barracks.”

Mr Ologbondiyan stressed the need not to corrupt the patriotism of the military and use them against innocent Nigerians, “whose only demand is for a free, fair and credible election”.

He urged the international community to monitor the country’s electoral process. (NAN)

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